Triangle Construction’s Good News

Housing ConstructionHousing and construction has been in the news a lot over the past few days.  And this news has been positive.

The news substantiates discussions I have been having with those I know in the construction industry, both residential and commercial, that construction is on the upswing.  Now, I am not saying it is on the late 1990’s, early 2000’s upswing.  But then again, look at what ended up happening.

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What Will The 2013 Economy Be?

Note: This is part 2 of a 2 part series looking back at the economics of 2012 and projecting the economics of 2013. Part 1 can be found here.  Also, look forward to the Triangle predictions coming up on Thursday.

With the year ending and all the talk about the “fiscal cliff”, there has been a lot of talk of what will happen during the next 12 months.  I feel like everyone can agree that the economy has seen better days and there seems to be indications that things are getting better.  Here is what I think the economy will be doing over the next 12 months.  Now as I stated last year, I am not by any mean the Oracle at Delphi, but this is my opinion based on a lot of reading and research by experts in their areas of expertise. Here are some areas of interest, including some not specifically discussed in Part 1 of this blog.

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What Was The 2012 Economy?

Happy New Year 2012

Note: This is part 1 of a 2 part series looking back at the economics of 2012 and looking projecting the economics of 2013. Part 2 will be released on Monday.

Last year I wrote two blogs about what happened in 2011 and provided some projections for 2012.  I got a fair amount of feedback from those post so I figured I do it again this year.  I started last year’s blog with Sir Winston Churchill’s quoted of  “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  I continue to believe that this is true in every facet of life, including business.  This information is based on factual information.  There are no politics, no opinions.  It is what it is.  The purpose is to understand what happen in 2012 to set the stage for 2013. Read more of this post

Homebuilding In The News

House Under ConstructionIt’s been a while since I wrote a blog about the home building and residential real estate. It has been three months since I even mentioned the industry in this blog and over seven months since I talked about the economic conditions of the market, locally or nationally.

Although it has been some time, I have not been ignoring the market. I have recently had discussion with those employed by builders, big and small, as well as a investor interested in a local large project. Also, over the past 10 days, I have seen a number of articles and news stories about the industry. So, I figured I let you all know about some of the news and provide an overview.

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The Case For Going Green in Home Building

The wave of the future is green construction

I started being involved in the hombuilding industry back in 2000 in Southern California.  At that time, the “green” concept was still in its infancy.  Many of the concepts had been around for a number of years.  And I feel like many home buyers wanted energy efficient homes.  Although there was a fair amount of clamoring for this, the research showed (through both internal studies as well as outside studies) that the value was just not there.  It would have cost significantly more to include energy efficient aspects in the design and features of the homes than buyers were willing to pay for them.

The value proposition started to shift, albeit slightly, a few years later when California started to experience rolling blackouts, intentionally engineered electrical power shutdowns where electricity delivery is stopped for non-overlapping periods of time over geographical regions that was mainly do the insufficient generation capacity in regards to demand. Read more of this post

The State of Downtown Raleigh

Downtown RaleighWant to get nearly 300 business people, executives, and politicians in one place on a Wednesday morning?  Do an official “State of the Union” type forum and invite a Senior Director from a tech savvy company,an Executive VP, for a large hospitality group, and a newly appointed Economic Development Manager.

Well, that is exactly what happened yesterday at Downtown Raleigh 2012: An Economic Forum held by Downtown Raleigh Alliance. Read more of this post

Using Social Media in Homebuilding

It is commonly known that in real estate, especially homebuilding, the use of social media is the generally not the rule. Those using it well are even more rare. I personally several real estate agents using Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Some are better than others. The better ones that I know integrate their social media to topics beyond the homes that have on the market, the newest new home neighborhood phase release, and themselves.

Social Media World

But what about Pintrest? I recently came across a blog about the upcoming new home developments in Austin, Texas (home to my favorite musician of all time, Stevie Ray Vaughn). While looking around their blog, I was the “Follow me on Pintrest” link. The curiosity got the better of me. What I found was one way builders real estate agents can expand their presence on social media. Here they have posted pictures of homes and communities.

The whole idea of social media is not just to just self promote. The main purpose is to be able to engage with your audience. Granted, a portion of social media’s purpose is self promotion. But if that is all you, there is a limited engagement factor. Don’t believe me? Take a look at #3 on this infographic about Twitter engagement.

How have you used social media to expand your business?

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

Economic, Construction, and Real Estate News

We have had a lot of economic, construction and real estate related news in the past few days.  Instead of looking at just one of them in a vacuum, I am going to highlight many of them.

    • Nationally, consumer sentiment rose to 70.8 in February from 61.5 in January, achieving a sizable improvement. Consumers’ expectations rose to 88.0 from 76.7, while their views on current conditions increased to 45.0 from 38.8.  See the full story here.
    • Whouse constructionarren Buffett says along with equities, single-family homes are a very attractive investment right now, based on a CNBC interview.  He believes that the market is getting back into a situation that if the homes are held for a long period of time and purchased at low rates, the houses are even better than stocks.
    • An article in the Triangle Business Journal states that economic activity appears to be picking up across North Carolina, with fewer people filing first-time claims for state jobless benefits and forecasters predicting a bounce in new housing starts by 2013.

There have been a number of stories in the past several days about the local construction and real estate industries.  Some of it was good and some of it was not.

  • One of the negative stories was the report on the change of the Triangle’s construction industry employment figures.  I feel like we all logically knew this.  However, the numbers show that the Triangle peaked in December 2007 when payrolls were hitting 40,400. Then came the contraction.  By December 2011, according to Virginia-based Associated General Contractors of America, Triangle payrolls had dropped 30 percent to 35,300.  (Check out the full article here).
  • California-based commercial real estate firm Grubb & Ellis filed for bankruptcy.  Grubb & Ellis does have an affiliate in the Triangle.  It appears that Grubb & Ellis will be bought by New York-based BCG Partners Inc. as part of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process.  There is no news of how this will affect the local affiliate.
  • The residential market update for 2011 from Birch Appraisal Group was released showing 2011 average prices and percent to assessed value by jurisdiction for Wake County.  Cary had the highest average price and Apex had the highest percentage.  Garner came in with the lowest in both categories.
  • Preston Development looking at 7,108 acres for Chatham Park, a masterplanned community that mixes the golf course and executive homes of Prestonwood and business hubs of Research Triangle Park.  The idea is to essentially develop a RTP 2.0.

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

Residential Construction In The News

All week long, there has been a number of stories on the evening news and in various newspapers about residential construction and real estate in the Triangle region. I feel like last weeks article from Inman News was a catalyst for all of this. But since the beginning of the month, there have been several other newsworthy events about real estate in the nation and the Triangle. Here is a list of them.House Under Construction

  • Associated Press article stating that the CEOs of some of the biggest homebuilders feel the housing market has stabilized.
  • Discussion and stories at this week’s International Builders’ Show in Orlando about most local markets improving in 2012.
  • NBC-17 story about buyers flocking to buy homes in areas with retail nearby.
  • Triangle Business Journal article about Mountain Real Estate Capital of Charlotte buying ownership of Brightleaf in Durham.

Although not directly housing related, you need to include in the mix these stories.Employment Board

  • Raleigh added 8,700 new jobs last year (TBJ article)
  • National jobless claims drop
  • January’s national unemployment rate of 8.3%(left up to interpretation, see this article).

So what does all this mean? Well, by crystal ball was recently cracked and the store I bought my last one is out of business (Shouldn’t they have seen that coming?). The real answer is “who knows” There seems to be a lot of optimism for 2012; not that there isn’t at the beginning of every other year. But the people I talk to have a good gut feel about the next 11 months. Obviously, we will not know until then, but the positive attitude certainly cannot hurt.

So…What do you think this all means?

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

Good News On Raleigh Housing Market

Downtown RaleighOops, we did it again! But in a good way!

Again, Raleigh-Cary has topped a national list. This time it is from Inman News, a leading source of independent real estate news, information, advice, research, opinion and commentary for industry professionals and consumers alike. Inman looked at the Top 10 Real Estate Markets to Watch In 2012 (You can look at the full article and list here). The markets were evaluated on a number of key metrics, including above-average price appreciation, a flourishing job market, a high rate of sales in proportion to population, a high level of home affordability, low foreclosure activity, a below-average share of distressed sales, a low vacancy rate, and other characteristics indicating a healthy housing market.

In last years survey 8 of the 10 were in the Midwest and Raleigh was not even on the list. This year, the South and the Midwest dominate the listing. The listing in order is

  1. Raleigh-Cary, N.C.
  2. Wichita, Kan.
  3. Rochester, N.Y.
  4. Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa*
  5. Chattanooga, Tenn.-Ga.
  6. Peoria, Ill.
  7. Amarillo, Texas
  8. Binghamton, N.Y.
  9. Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa
  10. Bloomington-Normal, Ill.*

The Des Moines and Bloomington-Normal metros are on the list for the second year in a row. There were some changes in the methodology from last year by requiring a minimum metro population.

The Raleigh area is used to being at the top, or near the top of many national lists. This will continue to attract good employers and jobs to the area. We want to be here for these purposes.

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

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